Location: Gili Islands, Indonesia

Today was our first day to explore the quaint island of Gili. After eating some banana bread and cereal, we got divided into two groups. The first half went with Tor and Carolyn to dive, and the other half had a free day. Being part of the first group, I got my BCD, mask, snorkel, and fins ready to put in the dinghies. We met at the dive shop at 9:15 to fill out some paperwork and get organized into our dive groups. We then headed out to the shop’s boat, loaded all the equipment on board, and made our way out to shark point. For some of us, this was our first dive towards becoming an advanced open water diver. A few others acquired their last dive and became advanced open water divers. This was the naturalist dive; the requirements for this dive were to observe the life down in the watery environment. To show we met the naturalist requirements, we had to record three vertebrates, three invertebrates, and three plants or algae. During our first dive, we saw three turtles, one of which was quite large. We also saw some octopus, nudibranchs, and an eel or two. Between our first and second dive, we had a little bit of time to go wander the main strip to find some lunch. Max and I asked the dive instructors were to get some food, and we got directed to a street vendor who had various choices. We decided on a meal of rice, noodles, some veggies, and fish, all of which were rolled up into a cone of parchment paper. After lunch, we returned to the dive shop for our second dive, which took us to a steep shelf drop off. The highlight of this dive was seeing a cuttlefish, camouflaging with the soft coral beneath it. Back on the boat after dinner, we had a watch team pumpkin carving competition in preparation for Halloween tomorrow. People got pretty into it, and in the end, we had one pirate pumpkin, a pumpkin person with a hair bow, and a fancy shark and squid work of art.